An island with unusually strong magnetic properties. A ship full of slaves. A hatch on an island with a deep tunnel under it, in which a lone man is living, with all his needs catered for. A destiny that cannot be escaped from. A mysterious black horse. A one-eyed man. Any of this sound familiar?
It's quite possible that the makers of LOST have found some or all of these elements in "The Third Kalandar's Tale" (http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/arabian/bl-arabian-3kalander.htm), one of the tales from the Arabian Nights, which date back to the Middle Ages.
In this story, the following events occur that should be notable for LOST fans:
One Prince Ajib, son of Khazib is travelling on a ship when it passes by Magnet Mountain, a rock on an island whose magnetic forces are so strong that it attracts all the metal on the ship, causing it to disintegrate.
Poor Ajib, through some misadventure, ends up on another island. He's only been there for a short while when another ship appears. He hides in a tree and sees the following: out of the ship comes a group of slaves who dig a hole in the ground. They dig a deep tunnel and then proceed to bring food, furniture and other commodities down into it. They then take an old man and a young man down into the hatch, and after an hour or so, return with only the old man. They then close the hole off with a hatch and leave on the ship.
Ajib of course opens the hatch and goes down it. He finds a young man who tells him that he is in the hatch because of a prophecy: he is said to be killed by one Ajib, son of Khazib, within 40 days from now. His father brought him here to protect him. Ajib sees no reason to reveal his identity, as he has no reason to kill this man. They spend 39 happy days in the hatch, and on the 40th, Ajib kills the man accidentally.
Ajib flees the scene and manages to reach the mainland. There, he encounters a group of one-eyed young men, none of whom will tell him how they lost their eye. They do tell him he can find out, but say that it will cost him his eye. Undaunted, he follows their instructions, only to have his eye taken out by a magical black horse.
So, what do you think? Have Abrams, Lindelof and/or Cruse read this tale, or is this all mere coincidence? I believe it's quite possible, and the general theme of the inability to escape your fate is found throughout the Arabian Nights tales.